During last night’s Live Chat for Sunday Night Football Extra, I defended the decision to move the Bengals-Jets game to prime time in Week 17: “The NFL and NBC made the
right call. (Says the guy typing on a Live Chat hosted at NFL.com and
But even in the confines of PFT, where I have full control over all editorial content, I agree with that statement.
Sure, it won’t be a classic — especially if the Bengals decide to lay down for the Jets in the hopes of blocking the Steelers from a seat at the playoff table. But there are only two games in Week 17 featuring clear, obvious win-and-in scenarios: Bengals at Jets and Ravens at Raiders.
Throw in the fact that it’s the final game at Giants Stadium (unless the Jets secure the No. 5 seed and host the No. 6 seed for the AFC Championship) and the reality that New York is the top market in the country and the decision makes perfect sense.
Will there be potentially better games? Sure. Eagles-Cowboys could have a bye week on the line, and the NFC East title will definitely be up for grabs. But both teams already are guaranteed to play again in the postseason. Patriots-Texans presents Houston’s shot at a first-ever winning record for a full season — and an outside shot at the franchise’s first playoff appearance.
But the best-case scenarios for those games will be influenced by the outcomes of other games. For a sure-fire playoff atmosphere (at least for one of the teams), only two games mattered — and one of the two makes far more sense than the other.
Especially if, as expected, the Black Hole will have more than a few empty seats.